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Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame Lineup Set

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RELEASE FROM THE GREATER SAVANNAH ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME:

 

Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame

Welcomes Class of 2014

 

Induction ceremony and banquet will take

place on May 5 at The Savannah Civic Center

 

SAVANNAH, GA (March 31, 2014) – The Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame will induct the Class of 2014 as well as honor the 2014 Lawton M. Calhoun Award winner and the recipient of the 2014 M.A. Spellman Special Award on May 5 at The Savannah Civic Center.

 

Each year, the GSAHOF inducts four Athletes and two Citation recipients and presents the area's most accomplished high school athlete with the Lawton M. Calhoun Award. Additionally, the GSAHOF presents the MA Spellman Special Award to an individual or organization that has made a resounding impact on the community through sports, and the best high school athletes in football, boys' and girl's basketball, volleyball, boys' and girls' soccer, baseball and softball are honored.

 

Tickets for the induction ceremony are $25 apiece and may be purchased by contacting the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame at (912) 351-3852.

 

2014 ATHLETES

To be eligible for consideration as an Athlete, the athlete must have spent his or her formative years (participating in area schools) within the Greater Savannah area and must not have competed in the sport in which the athlete excelled for five years or must be at least 40 years of age. Lifelong sports such as golf, tennis, and bowling are exceptions. Additional consideration is accorded to athletes who excelled beyond the local level.

 

Jerry Templeton – Templeton was a three-sport star and five-tool baseball player at Benedictine Military School from 1957-59 who made his true mark as part of an iconic baseball team at the University of Georgia. He lettered in baseball, basketball and football at BC but showcased his abilities on the baseball diamond. He batted .422 and led the region in batting during his senior year in 1959, and he was selected as a South All Star by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He earned a baseball scholarship to the University of Georgia and lettered for UGA from 1961-63, serving as team captain in 1963 and leading the Bulldogs in runs scored and home runs in 1962. While playing for UGA, Templeton also competed in the summer months for the Barrett Oil club in the Savannah River League and played in the Amateur World Series in Michigan three times. While at Georgia, Templeton became memorialized twice during the 1963 season: first by being the third baseman when teammate Don Woeltjen (inducted into the GSAHOF in 2012) pitched a perfect game against Georgia Tech in 1963 and second by turning a triple play with teammates Carol Minick, Tom Reid and Tommy Perdue.  

 

Billy Phillips – Phillips was a two-sport star at Commercial High School from 1954-57 who earned a football scholarship to the University of Georgia. He began his college career in grand fashion with a crucial reception that helped Georgia's freshman team defeat Georgia Tech in 1957, but his playing career was interrupted by dyslexia after only one season alongside Fran Tarkenton and Pat Dye in Athens. Phillips had a high school career to remember at Commercial High, winning the Sears Trophy for being the city's best high school athlete in 1956 and being named to the Georgia All State Team. Phillips caught 10 touchdown passes during his senior year and was named the Savannah News Press lineman of the year, and Commercial High's football team won the Savannah City Championship. As a basketball player, Phillips was second in the city in scoring and first in rebounding during his senior season and was named an all-region performer during his junior and senior seasons. Although his athletic career ended too soon, his accomplishments on the field and on the court make him one of the finest high school athletes in Savannah's history.

 

Sam Stewart – Stewart is often referred to at the Jackie Robinson of Savannah for the role he played in desegregating the Oglethorpe Baseball League in the 1960s. A Tompkins High School graduate, Stewart was a standout on the diamond good enough to be scouted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He chose to play for the Savannah Kilowatts and was an all-star who broke through the color barrier. He was the first black player in the Oglethorpe league, and he was good enough to win five MVP trophies and five batting championships. As a pitcher, he was overpowering and brought the heat for several teams in different area leagues. Stewart played for several teams in the Savannah area in the 1960s and 1970s and his talent on the field was matched by his influence off the field. As a pitcher, Stewart was a strike out artist, averaging more than 10 strikeouts per game. As unhittable as he was on the mound, he was equally effective at the plate, and he finished his MVP season in 1964 with a .462 average. After concluding his baseball career, Stewart turned his attention to softball and was inducted into the Savannah Softball Hall of Fame. In a different era, Stewart might have ended up in Major League Baseball, but he had an unforgettable impact in Savannah's baseball and sports community as a sublime talent and courageous leader.

 

Ricky Huggins – Widely regarded as the greatest slow-pitch softball player to ever play in Savannah, Huggins played for professional softball teams in the 1970s, ‘80s and 90s. He was a national MVP nine times and an American Softball Association All American 28 times. He played on 22 national championship teams and 565 homeruns in 1987 alone. He was selected as an All American at four positions – third base, first base, pitcher and right field. He's ranked 19th on the All-Time All World Team and was named a member of the ASA's 1990s Team of the Decade as well as the 1990s Player of the Decade. He was inducted into the Georgia ASA Hall of Fame and the United States Specialty Sports Association Softball Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Savannah Old Timers Hall of Fame and the International Softball Association Hall of Fame.

 

2014 CITATION RECIPIENTS

Citation honorees may be individuals or organizations that have made contributions to athletics through coaching, financial support, moral support and instruction. Citation honorees are not required to have spent their formative years in Savannah to be eligible.

 

Joseph O'Loughlin – A celebrated high school athlete at Benedictine in the late 1930s and early 1940s and a decorated war hero, O'Loughlin has been a lifelong contributor to sports in Savannah and became a legend at Bacon Park Golf Course in 1973 by shooting a course record 63 on the original layout that still stands. He began refereeing in the 1940s and is a founding member of the Savannah Basketball Officials Association. His influence in youth sports in Savannah included conducting youth golf camps at Bacon Park Golf Course and advocating for youth sports through his participation in committees and organizations dedicated to promoting the availability and accessibility of sports to all of Savannah's young people. He was respected and admired for his earnest efforts to continually improve youth sports in Savannah, and the Liberty Garden at Lake Mayer was named dedicated to him in 2010 for his heroism in World War II and his civic work as a Bacon Park commissioner. As a golfer, he won the Savannah City Championship in 1958 and claimed several other individual championships in the area.

 

John "Chip" Grayson – Although it's difficult to quantify Chip Grayson's contribution to sports in Savannah, it's easy enough to identify the leadership roles he has played during the past two decades. He has served on the Savannah Sports Council for nearly 20 years, acting as the organization's chairman for three years and chairing nearly a dozen Sports Council committees covering a wide variety of exhibition and competitive events. He has been a member of the board of trustees for the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame for almost a decade and provided guidance as president for four years as the organization was modernized and reinvented itself.  After an accomplished athletic career that enabled him to be inducted into the Savannah Softball Hall of Fame, Grayson has volunteered countless hours and given thousands of dollars to Savannah sports, including sponsoring and coaching teams in a variety of sports at every amateur level and lending his financial and public support to countless worthy causes that improved facilities and provided opportunities in the city. Grayson's mission has consistently been to broaden the scope the city's vision and expectations by dreaming and creating events and competitions that fit the culture and history of the city. His sense of fairness and his memory of Savannah's greatest athletes and athletic moments made him an ideal steward for the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame, and his passion for continual improvement made him one of the most influential people in Savannah sports history.

 

2014 Lawton M. Calhoun Award

This award is presented annually to the outstanding athlete from Chatham County as selected by the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame. The award was established to honor Lawton M. Calhoun for his long time support of Coastal Empire athletics, both amateur and professional, from the civic, corporate, and personal level; and for his staunch help in this organization's development.

Brad Stewart (Benedictine Military School) - Eugene Brandon "Brad" Stewart II, is one of the most talented high school athletes Savannah has seen in decades. As a three-sport athlete at Benedictine Military School, Stewart has produced results and unforgettable moments in football, basketball and baseball. He was the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame Football Player of the Year in 2013 and the Savannah Morning News Best of Preps Most Versatile Male Athlete of the Year. He earned distinction as a Class AA All-State Second Team Wide Receiver, a Savannah Morning News All-Greater Savannah First Team Wide Receiver and a Region 2-AA First Team Wide Receiver. He had 30 receptions for more than 700 yards and 11 touchdowns and helped BC advance to the Class AA state semifinals and finish with a 13-1 record. In basketball, Stewart has been a Region 2-AA First Team selection and a Savannah Morning News All-Greater Savannah Honorable Mention selection. He averaged 14 points and eight rebounds this season and produced four double-doubles despite playing only half of the season because of injury. As a baseball player, Stewart is a dynamic hitter and fielder whose dramatic diving catch to end a game in 2013 will stand as one of the greatest baseball moments in BC or Savannah sports history. Stewart has distinguished himself a game-changing athlete in three sports and is being recruited to play football by powerhouse programs throughout the country.

 

MA Spellman Special Award

The MA Spellman Special Award is given to an individual or organization that has made a lasting impact on Savannah through sports in an unconventional but undeniable manner.

 

The Savannah Shamrocks - The Savannah Shamrocks Rugby Club is a rugby club that has embodied the culture and spirit of Savannah sports since its inception in 1978. Equal parts social outlet and competitive team, the Shamrocks club is a member of USA Rugby and Division III of The Georgia Rugby Union. Since being founded in the late 70s by Tom Nelson and Carl Shoemaker, the Shamrocks have made a lasting impression in Savannah by introducing a rugged, respectful sport and launching the world famous St. Patrick's Day Rugby Tournament that is played each spring in Daffin Park. The tournament is now as fixed on the calendar as the parade through the squares of downtown Savannah and has generated tens of millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of charitable donations while drawing teams from around the globe to play rugby in the shadow of Historic Grayson Stadium. The club boasts a large membership and that includes a senior men's and women's team, plays throughout the southeast and plays its home games in Forsyth Park. The club's colors are … what else? Kelly green and gold.

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